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Some time ago on one of the various ex-pat blogs I read, I heard about a fantastic little creation of a British-Amsterdammer chef, Jason Hartley. With no restaurant of his own, he hosts a “popup” brunch at various locations around the city. The schedule is irregular, but for some reason I thought to check the lovefood homepage and, as luck would have it, 14 November was the day! And it perfectly coincided with my November trip home!

This round of brunch was in cozy Jordaan restaurant, Vlaming.  We were a little lazy and didn’t make it right at 11am, so we got slated for the second seating around 12.30p. Tragedy, the breakfast burritos were all gone by the time we settled into our seats! But no bother, Wout and I opted for a traditional English breakfast, complete with thick cut bacon, home-made organic sausage (OMG, so good!), an egg, soda bread, potatoes, black pudding (I was a little shy with this item), and beans inside a baked tomato. What a show! And, no surprise, the food totally won– I couldn’t quite finish.

Staying true to my roots, I topped breakfast off with a self-made bloody mary– they serve you up the liquor and you mix it the way you like at their bloody mary bar. Delish! But regaling the tale to a couple of Dutch friends at dinner last night, I learned that the British/American penchant for a boozy brunch is not shared by the Dutch. “A bloody mary for breakfast?! Shocking!” And yet, on further discussion, it was decided amongst the Dutch that beer for breakfast would have been totally normal. Let’s hear it for exploring cultural differences!

Wout and I have made a pact– we will be back for the next round! And this time, it’s breakfast burritos or bust! Nom nom nom…

Promo photo  source: http://www.lovefood.nl/

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I’ll be paying a visit to my home university for the next two weeks. This trip feels very different from previous ones– I wasn’t so sad leaving Schiphol yesterday. Sure, I’ll miss Wouter. But it’s only two weeks and, after all, I live in Amsterdam now. Wow, it still seems weird to say it, but it does feel that way!

Pulling into Madison was so exciting! I thought about all of the friends, cafes, restaurants, shops, parks and activities that are waiting for me here. In someways it felt a bit like visiting Stockholm– it’s somewhere I’ve lived, I know it like the back of my hand, I’ve a long list of favorites (people, places and things), but I don’t think it’d want to move back right at this moment. I suppose that means it’s the right time to be moving. I hope that’s what it means.

More news and adventure to come about the trip, I’m sure.

But a quick side note: On Saturday night, before I left Amsterdam, Wouter and I had dinner out at La Maria, a small Italian brasserie-style restaurant in the neighborhood. We’d been meaning to try it since it opened in February. Simple, miss-matched furniture, wine crates and bottles scattered about, tall candle stick holders, earthen ware vases and an unfinished wood floor– love it! But back in February and March, I wasn’t sold on the ambience– the walls are painted a stark white that was positively ELECTRIC under compact fluorescent overhead lighting. But as the days grew longer and the overhead lights were no longer a necessity, the owner’s vision of clean white walls in the afternoon sun came to fruition. With the wide windows providing ample views of spring’s budding leaves, narcissus and fluffy white clouds, the setting was absolutely perfect! Well, until the sun set far enough to directly enter my line of sight… but never mind about that.

The menu is simple– a couple of starters, three pizzas, a fish dish and a meat dish. All food is prepared in a steenoven (brick oven). The food was delicious and was complimented by a very nice wine list. A perfect “good-bye for now” dinner in the neighborhood!

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Left to right: Broad window view and white walls; fresh bread and olive starter.

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